Just came across this study. I am not allowed to post the full article, but you can read a lot from the abstract. Fascinating!!

Pitch perception, working memory, and second-language phonological production

  1. James Posedel
  2. Lisa Emery
  3. Benjamin Souza
  4. Catherine Fountain   Appalachian State University, USA

Lisa Emery, Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, 28608, USA [email: emerylj@appstate.edu]


Previous research has suggested that training on a musical instrument is associated with improvements in working memory and musical pitch perception ability. Good working memory and musical pitch perception ability, in turn, have been linked to certain aspects of language production. The current study examines whether working memory and/or pitch perception ability are possible mediators of the effect of musical training on second language phonological production. Native English-speaking undergraduate participants were asked questions about their previous music and Spanish training, and were asked to complete tests of pitch perception, working memory, and Spanish pronunciation. Results indicated that although musical training was linked to both better working memory and better pitch perception, only pitch perception ability was a significant predictor of Spanish pronunciation. These results suggest that incorporating musical training into language classes may be one way to improve second language pronunciation.